Namibian international Ananias ‘Junior’ Gebhardt was on Monday amongst a group of 27 Premier Soccer League (PSL) stars who graduated from the league’s Player Transition Programme offered by the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg.
The course was introduced in the middle of last year by the PSL in partnership with MultiChoice, and was specifically designed by GIBS to equip PSL players with the necessary knowledge and skills to find careers off the field after they retire from the game.
Gebhardt, who plays for Baroka FC in the DStv Premiership, formed part of the initial 64 players from various DStv Premiership sides who were selected to attend the programme, which started in the 2021/22 season.
Of the 64 players who enrolled for the programme, only 27 graduated. The Namibian left-back was among them. Others included Itumeleng Khune, Kennedy Mweene, Linda Mnthambo, Trevor Mathiane, Zitha Kwinikwa and Innocent Maela. The programme is a legacy project for MultiChoice, and is scheduled to run for three years. This year’s graduation marked the conclusion of the first year, with two more years of intake left to it. Gebhardt said it is an important and highly-informative programme that the PSL has organised for players.
“There is a lot we learned, specifically on getting ready to shift into the business world, and more importantly, the business fundamentals. It gets you ready for life after football, and I think it would have been great to make this programme mandatory for each player signing their first contract,” he shared with New Era Sport yesterday.
“The financial management classes were very helpful. Imagine having that from an early age; our schools don’t really teach us financial literacy. A programme like this in my motherland can be helpful to players to get them ready for life after football. They also gave coaching classes for the players who want to become coaches. I took it very seriously, and managed to be in the top 10 best performers out of 64 players who were enrolled.” The programme aims to equip and empower PSL players aged between 28 and 35 years with the necessary knowledge and skills. Some of the subjects covered focused on coach education, project management, facility management, business innovation, media relations, social entrepreneurship, merchandise management and events management.
Namibian football legend Henrico Botes, who plied his trade for Moroka Swallows, Platinum Stars, Bidvest Wits and the University of Pretoria FC during his heyday, showered praise on Gebhardt for completing the programme, and underscored the importance of such programmes for the long-term well-being of retired players.
He also went through similar programmes during his playing days, and appreciates how they provided him with a different perspective on life beyond football. “I also did a similar programme through partnerships between Uefa and Cosafa, and they really do provide great insight. This is very important for sportsmen and women, especially when they are still actively involved with sports. The programme equips them with a vast variety of tools to plan for life after their playing days. In short, it’s an opportunity to plan for their second careers beyond playing,” said the now-retired Botes.